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Safety At Sea

Dedicated to safe boating through research and seminars

We conduct annual Safety at Sea Seminars to provide valuable information to cruising and racing sailors, as well as commercial operators.

Update 1/20/2021: The Sailing Foundation has no plans to run an in-person Safety at Sea Seminar in the first half of this year. We will reevaluate the situation again later this spring to determine if a Fall Safety at Sea Seminar is possible.

If your International Safety at Sea Certificate expired in 2020 or 2021 and you were unable to schedule participation in a Hands-On course in either 2020 or 2021, your International Offshore Certificate will be extended by US Sailing, valid through the end of 2021.


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The Safety at Sea Committee of the Sailing Foundation is dedicated to promoting safe boating throughout both the commercial and pleasure boating industry through seminars and research into the development of products that enhance boating safety.

Safety At Sea Seminars

The Sailing Foundation conducts alternating courses in the Portland and Seattle area each year. These popular courses are a requirement for many offshore and international ocean races. Those who aren't concerned with certification will still find a wealth of useful information by attending the Safety at Sea Seminar.

The seminars, designed and conducted by sailors, all experts in their fields, provide novice and experienced mariners with information and skills required to prepare for sailing offshore, boat preparation, handling heavy weather, recommended safety equipment, and emergencies at sea.

The two-day, US Sailing-sanctioned event is open to all cruising and racing skippers, crews and their families, recreational power boaters, as well as commercial fishermen. The program, endorsed by Cruising World and Sailing World Magazines and sponsored by West Marine and Landfall Navigation, has evolved from the highly successful program developed by the Sailing Foundation and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. It incorporates the latest techniques and information available.

Lecture topics include: first aid, rescue at sea, heavy weather seamanship, weather forecasting, damage control and repair, communications equipment, navigation, and personal safety equipment.

The hands-on Day 2 session includes training with in-the-water demonstrations, key survival tactics, man-overboard recoveries, flare procedures and helicopter evacuation. The session is accompanied by in-depth discussions and provides a logical preparation step for those sailors seriously preparing for independent, self-sufficient offshore sailing - both racing and cruising.

2020 Seminar Information

lifesling safety

USCG Approved Lifesling

It's one thing to get the boat back to a man overboard. Getting the man back in the boat can be far more difficult, especially if the victim is unconscious. The USCG-approved Lifesling is the most compact, economical, and effective solid lifesaver unit on the high seas. Stanchion-mounted, the Lifesling pack contains a pliable center section horseshoe, 150' of 3/8" floating polypropylene line, and an optional water-activated personal marker light. The idea is to deliver contact instantly to the crew in the water, facilitating short-handed retrieval without losing time (and, quite possibly, losing sight of your crew). A hoist and tackle system is another option designed to help bring even your heaviest crew aboard safely, even if injured, unconscious, or in atrocious sea conditions.

Periodically, The Sailing Foundation holds hands-on training in the use of the Lifesling. Experience has shown that crews that practice MOB drills and rigging the tackle that's used to bring the MOB back aboard greatly increase the chances of a successful rescue.